Epicenter favourite in Preakness
WASHINGTON • The absence of Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike takes a Triple Crown tilt off the table and sets up Derby runner-up Epicenter as the 6-5 favourite in the US$1.65 million (S$2.28 million) Preakness Stakes today.
It is the first time since 2019 that the Derby winner has skipped the second leg of the Triple Crown. Rich Strike’s owner decided the two-week turnaround was too quick for his colt after his triumph at Churchill Downs at 80-1.
The Steve Asmussen-trained Epicenter, stunned at the wire by Rich Strike in the Derby, was installed as the early favourite, after drawing the Gate 8 in the nine-horse field.
Asmussen, who was denied a first Kentucky Derby win in 24 attempts, insists he has put the disappointment behind him.
“We were second. Turn the page. Move on,” he said. “We’ve got a quality three-year-old that has some wonderful opportunities left in the second half of the year.
“And we plan on having him ready for them. He is very accomplished but yet to be a Grade 1 winner. For him to add a Grade 1 classic to his resume would be very important to us.”
Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath is the 9-2 fancy behind 7-2 second choice Early Voting. - AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE